A historical account on the life of the Zulu king Shaka.
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1989   1986  
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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Lt. Francis Farewell (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
...
 Dr. Henry Fynn (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
...
 Lord Charles Somerset (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
...
 Elizabeth Farewell (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
...
 Lord Bathurst (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
Henry Cele ...
 Shaka (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
Dudu Mkhize ...
 Nandi (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
...
 George IV (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
...
 Prof. Bramston (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
Kenneth Griffith ...
 Zacharias Abrahams (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
Conrad Magwaza ...
 Senzagakona (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Patrick Ndlovu ...
 Mudli (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Roland Mqwebu ...
 Ngomane (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Gugu Nxumalo ...
 Mkabayi (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Tu Nokwe ...
 Pampata (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Vuyisile Bojana ...
 Mgobozi (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Bingo Mbonjeni ...
 Bhuza (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Simon Sabela ...
 Dingiswayo (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Sam Williams ...
 Jama (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Alex Heyns ...
 Vegte (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Graham Armitage ...
 Wilkins (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Geoff Albert ...
 Thomson (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Sonke Buthelezi ...
 Nqoboka (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
...
 Lord Kimberley (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Khumbulani Cele ...
 Shaka (6-11) (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Dabula Ciliza ...
 Ghubela (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Bill Curry ...
 Popham (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Terence Dlamini ...
 Gazi (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Thembinkosi Dlamini ...
 Mevana (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Glen Gabela ...
 Shaka (15-19) (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
King Beaters Gabelah ...
 Musi (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Winston Gama ...
 Mzilikazi (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
P.W.M. Gardner ...
 Aithison (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Keith Grenville ...
 Shepstone (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Zipathe Gumede ...
 Nkalakata (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Daphney Hlomuka ...
 Queen Ntombazi (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Eugene Hlomuka ...
 Dilikana (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
James Irwin ...
 Gen. Chelmsford (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Ian Jali ...
 Sigiyana (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Kerry Jordan ...
 Rev. Bellow (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Benedict Khambula ...
 Witchdoctor (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Charles Kinsman ...
 Cane (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Sokesimbone Kubheka ...
 Cetshwayo (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Bruno Luthuli ...
 Pungashe (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Khulekani Magubane ...
 Zwide (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Victor Majavu ...
 King Makedama (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Phillip Majola ...
 Ngwadi (9 yrs old) (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Humphrey Makhoba ...
 Dingane (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Obed Makubane ...
 Messenger (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Africa Manqele ...
 Ngazana (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Sonto Mazibuko ...
 Bibi (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Grissel Mboni ...
 Mfunda (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Peter Mgaga ...
 Nzobo (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Eric Mcanyana ...
 Godongwana (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Dingeni Mhlongo ...
 Nomcoba (child) (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Precious Mkhize ...
 Njani (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Raymond Mkhize ...
 Soshangane (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Amos Mkhonza ...
 King Kondlo (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Louis Mtetwa ...
 Ufasimba (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Sally Mthembu ...
 Majola (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Lucky Mtshali ...
 Nondumo (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Sabelo Ndebele ...
 Ngwadi (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Daniel Ndlovu ...
 Dlaba (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Isabelle Ndlovu ...
 Noliwa (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Michael Nene ...
 Mbopha (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Shadrack Ngema ...
 Joko (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Elliot Ngubane ...
 Mphepha (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Peter Nkwanyana ...
 Ufasimba (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Alfred D. Nokwe ...
 Kuta (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Emily Nompumelelo ...
 Mahlana (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Adalbero Ntsele ...
 Luthuli (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Samuel Ntsini ...
 The Nameless One (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Horatius Ntuli ...
 Njanis Father (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Artwell Nyembe ...
 Ufasimba Leader (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Aletta Rabotapi ...
 Maidservant (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Michael Richard ...
 Mordechai Abrahams (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Erica Rogers ...
 Queen Victoria (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Hugh Rouse ...
 Worthing (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Cynthia Shange ...
 Mkabi (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Sibusiso Shange ...
 Phakathwayo (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
David Sherwood ...
 Captain Blair (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Yule Simone ...
 Gendeyana (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Leonard Sithole ...
 Mbuya (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Washington Xisolo ...
 Bhebhe (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Ron Smerczak ...
 Ogle (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Sibongile Sokhulu ...
 Nomcoba (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
...
 Tonino (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Oliver Stole ...
 Mbenghi (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
...
 The Prince Of Wales (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Reginald Tsokolibane ...
 The Lion Man (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Sean Weir ...
 Hockley (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Robert Whitehead ...
 Simpson (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Ganza Zama ...
 Mtonga (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Vincent Zulu ...
 Pakatwayo (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
V.E.M. Zulu ...
 King Sodubo (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Patrick Zungu ...
 Igazi (5 episodes, 1986-1989)
Nomsa Xaba ...
 Sitayi (4 episodes, 1986-1989)
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Storyline

Framed around Queen Victoria's decision on England's political stance towards the Zulu Nation, this mini-series details King Shaka's rise and fall with mythic detail. Prophecy is mixed with recorded fact regarding Shaka's birth, exile, innovations in warfare, assumption of the throne, building of the Zulu Empire, first contact with Europe and the events that lead to his downfall. Written by Renee Ann Byrd <byrdie@wyrdbyrd.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Most Savage Warrior of All Time!


Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Language:

|

Release Date:

24 November 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shaka Zulú  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$24,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This has been the most repeatedly screened mini-series ever shown on television in the United States. By 1992, over 350 million viewers had seen it. The series dislodged The Hunters (1962) and The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980) and its sequels as the prime shaper of American perceptions of "tribal" history in southern Africa. The series even achieved cult status. The UK actors who worked on the project were nearly blacklisted by the UN. See more »

Quotes

Shaka: [last words, as he is slain by his own bodyguards] ... THE SWALLOWS HAVE WON!
["Swallows" is the Zulus' term for the British... since they, like their bird-namesakes, first came to Africa from across the sea]
See more »

Connections

Followed by Shaka Zulu: The Citadel (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

We Are Growing
By Patric van Blerk, Julian Laxton, Margaret Singana and David Pollecutt (as Dave Pollecutt)
Sung by Margaret Singana and the Baragwanath Choir
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Zulu History carefully reconstructed!!
22 June 2007 | by (London) – See all my reviews

"Shaka Zulu" the ten part mini-series is an interesting mix of good film-making and bad film-making. Certain scenes are beautifully done and perfectly paced while others seem to be the work of a bored and untalented film student.

The late William C. Faure's talent as a director really starts to shine when the story is told from the Zulu point of view. For instance, the love scene between Nandi and Senzagakona at the river is beautifully played and executed. The scenes with the young Shaka are generally over played and poorly directed. All the scenes with the British are of a poor standard especially the pontificating and condescending opening scene with the Zulu King and Queen Victoria. The best British scenes are the ones involving Christopher Lee.

The acting is generally of a very high standard. Edward Fox is as good as always. He plays his part with dash and honesty rarely seen nowadays. Robert Powell is his usual studied and self-conscious self. The beautiful Dudu Kkhize portrays Nandi and for the most part she is very good.

The most remarkable performance has to be that of Henry Cele as Shaka. It is hard, if not impossible, to imagine anyone else in the part of Shaka. He is simply perfect in every aspect and is a surprisingly good actor. It is possible to empathize with Shaka, even understand him and this is because of the towering performance given by Henry Cele. He lets you inside the mind of this despot and translates his pain, confusion and arrogance. This has to be one of the best pieces of casting in cinema history. Conrad Magwaza gives a great performance as Shaka's father, Senzagakona. He plays the part with confidence, comedy and charm.

The production design and costumes for the Zulu sequences are first class. Also a remarkable amount of historically accurate material finds itself within the script and this has to be commended. The death of Shaka is open to interpretation but it is generally believed that a relative poisoned him.

The contrasting styles of film-making that abound in this production are a shame. An inept scene usually follows an excellent one and visa versa. I am sure this was partly due to the tight scheduling and production constraints.

The musical score is dated and histrionic. A low quality keyboard orchestra pervades scenes that need no accompaniment and destroys certain well-crafted moments. The songs are pretty cheesy as well. With the wealth of extraordinary Zulu music that exists, it is a shame that the score could not have utilized its rhythms and instruments to a more satisfying degree.

Having so little African history on film, this mini series has to be classed as a classic. The whole experience is rewarding, exciting and surprisingly refreshing.


6 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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